Friday, July 15, 2011

The Drowsy Chaperone
By Bob Martin and Don McKellar
music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison
Well, if 5 out of 5 stars is not enough incentive, audiences should come see this show to simply escape! You can't help but laugh the whole way through and get lost in the world inside the head of show narrator "The Man in Chair".  The musical within the comedy is 'The Drowsy Chaperone' a story of love, marriage, gangsters, blindfolded roller-skating, misunderstandings, hilarious characters, and yes, a drowsy chaperone.
So what is The Drowsy Chaperone really all about?
In a nutshell, it’s about a man sharing his love of an obscure 1928 musical with the audience, about the joy he gets from a type of escapist musical that's a bit out of style now. He knows the show in great detail, including the back-story of the actors who play the roles, and he shares all that information with the audience. He plays the cast album of the musical for the audience, and the story comes to life right before the audience’s eyes.
How did the show come about?
It all started in 1997, when Bob Martin – a Toronto based comedian, performer and Second City alum – was getting married to his wife, Janet Van de Graaf, and [show lyricist] Lisa Lambert was his "best man.” Instead of throwing a stag party, she rented a small nightclub in Toronto and she and Greg Morrison and Don McKellar and a few other people created this homage to a 1920s musicals called The Drowsy Chaperone. It was about 40 minutes long and was a series of songs about a show-girl bride leaving the business to get married. Janet and Bob were so enthralled by it that they decided to mount The Drowsy Chaperone at the Fringe of Toronto festival and make it a more fully realized show.
In its first incarnation, there was no Man in Chair, the musical styles ranged from the 1920s to the 1940s, and the jokes were more risqué. When the show was reshaped for the Toronto Fringe Festival, Martin became a co-writer, creating the Man in Chair character to serve as a narrator/commentator for the piece. It was a huge hit. People lined up to see the show, scalped tickets, and it was reviewed by Variety, which is very unusual for a Toronto Fringe festival show.
The Broadway production opened in May 2006 at the Marquis Theatre, and closed in December 2007 after 674 performances and 32 previews. Among the awards for the show: 2006 Tony Award for Best Book, Best Costume Design, Best Featured Actress, Best Original Score, and Best Scenic Design of a Musical.  It also won seven Drama Desk awards, and numerous other international citations. It has toured successfully in Canada, England, Australia and Japan. It has enjoyed life as a favorite on YouTube and as a staple in regional and community theatres throughout the United States ever since.

Don’t miss VLA’s final show of the 2010-2011 Season – The Drowsy Chaperone!  This production opens on July 22nd and with your purchase of an Opening Night ticket you are invited to a FREE reception with a Champagne Bar and Appetizers. Enjoy a sip of Fluttering Heart, Moonlight Mimosa or Classic Chaperone just before this fantastic performance that will have you laughing all the way home!  Show dates/ times: July 22, 23, 29, 30, Aug. 5 & 6 at 7:00pm and July 31 & Aug. 7 at 2:00pm. or call 254-526-9090.